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Re: Making a presentation to an audience

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg58379] Re: Making a presentation to an audience
  • From: Paul Abbott <paul at>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 01:38:02 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: The University of Western Australia
  • References: <d9r553$57f$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <d9r553$57f$1 at>,
 "Hugh Goyder" <h.g.d.goyder at> wrote:

> I wish to set up a slide show for a presentation to an audience using
> Mathematica version 5.1 for Windows. I will use a data projector to get an
> image on a large screen in a lecture theatre. This is the usual standard
> wherever I seem to go. The data projector will map the computer screen on my
> laptop to the theatre screen.
> Most other lecturers will use PowerPoint. Should I use Mathematica in the
> slide show environment and what can I do that is better than PowerPoint?

You can do computations "within" your slideshow environment.

You automatically have beautiful WYSIWYG typeset equations -- that you 
can use and evaluate.

> The following things seem to go wrong.
> 1. In Help under "creating slide shows" it suggests I use the slide show
> pallet found in the menu File-Pallets. I use the pallet to give me a new
> notebook which is a template for a slide show. However, the style sheet for
> the slide show is that for a help browser. Text, input and output are 12
> point, section headings are in 18 point . This is clearly too small. In
> PowerPoint the default text is in 32 point and headings are in 44 point. The
> slide show under "creating slides shows" is clearly not a slide show for
> making a presentation to an audience but a slide show to be read on a
> computer screen.
> 2. I dig around and find on the Mathematica Information centre a download
> entitled "Tips for Mathematica Slide Show Presenters".
> ( ) This also starts by
> suggesting you begin with the slide show pallet and use the help browser as
> a template. It does not contain a template for a slide show presentation. So
> no progress here. There are some useful points but nothing that gets you
> started. No slide show template with a good embedded style sheet.
> 3. I dig around further and find that I can have slide shows in environments
> Classroom, Demo and Report as well as the help browser. The classroom
> environment looks promising. I try this and find that in the slide show
> environment text, input and output are in 12 point with section headings in
> 16 point. This is clearly not a presentation for an audience. (Am I missing
> something here what are you meant to be doing in the environment classroom
> slide show?). Also, there is no help for putting up buttons that enable you
> to jump to the next slide.
> 4. I am now asking some very fundamental questions: Why is there no
> environment "slide show"? Where are all the style sheets (for a range of
> activities) kept? Why is there no location on the Wolfram site where I can
> download a style sheet for almost any application?
> 5. I am contemplating making a notebook template for a slide show
> presentation to an audience. However, before I start a long task of making
> many changes to a style sheet I thought I would ask the mathgroup for help
> in general and the following detailed points.
> i) Has anyone sorted out a good template for a side show that is to be used
> as a presentation to an audience? It will presumably contain an embedded
> style sheet. Please could they send me a copy?

I have used Mathematica SlideShows for my first year lecture courses on 
AC and DC circuits and Resonance for the last four years. These 
(largish) Notebooks are available at

One thing that I have found very useful is that I included a hidden 
input style in the Notebook's StyleSheet so that I can create or import 
graphics and then hide the code for this. I can make this code visible 
if I switch to 

  Format | Screen Style Environment | Brackets

and hide it again by switching back to the SlideShow environment.

> ii) Does anyone know what is the correct font size to use? I think
> PowerPoint may be correct with its font sizes giving about 10 lines to a
> slide. Slide heading 44 point, text in 32 point.
> iii) Examples of good slides that can be used as templates. For example:
> a) A slide with heading and text (perhaps with bullet points).
> b) A slide with graphics. What ImageSize should I set for a Graphic so that
> it nicely fills the screen? Use of Alt CRC to close the input cell is
> probably a good trick to avoid showing all the construction details.
> c) Small Forward -Previous buttons at the bottom so that I can advance to
> the next slide (so that if you extend a slide by doing a calculation you
> don't have to scroll back to the top to find the point to click.) I know you
> can use page down to move to the next slide but why should I have to walk to
> the lectern where my computer is located and press the button. I want to use
> a remote mouse to advance the slides.

I agree that this would be a good idea. Alternatively, one can use an 
external floating navigation palette.

> d) Any more good ideas or tips for presentations. Perhaps there are things
> you can do in Mathematica that you can't in a PowerPoint presentation?

Like run a computation? Change a parameter and re-compute. Pick up a 
typo and modify equations on screen? In response to a question, take an 
equation and evaluate or plot it using Mathematica?
> If I can make a good slide show notebook that can be used as a template I
> will put it together and offer it to the information centre.

A good idea.


Paul Abbott                                      Phone: +61 8 6488 2734
School of Physics, M013                            Fax: +61 8 6488 1014
The University of Western Australia         (CRICOS Provider No 00126G)    

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